Our work in Benin focuses on treating and preventing neglected tropical diseases. In 2017 Sightsavers and its partners distributed 4.3 million treatments for river blindness and nearly 2 million for lymphatic filariasis.
Dicko has worked for Sightsavers for more than nine years. He says: “The best part of my job is giving visually impaired children access to education and ensuring future generations never go blind from trachoma and river blindness.”
River blindness is transmitted via the bite of infected black flies. Infection leads to severe skin disease with unrelenting itching, visual impairment and blindness.
Lymphatic filariasis is transmitted via mosquito bite: long-term infection causes painful disability, which can profoundly affect the lives of individuals, reducing their independence, productivity and mobility. The disfigurement and associated stigma and discrimination from infection can have a devastating impact on those affected and their families.
In 2017 Sightsavers also helped to train more than 10,000 volunteer community distributors in Benin, enabling them to gather data and give out medication to protect against these diseases.
We have also completed the largest infectious disease survey ever undertaken, the Global Trachoma Mapping Project, which helps to pinpoint the world’s trachoma-endemic areas. During the project, which was completed in January 2016, surveyors collected data from 2.6 million people in 29 countries, including Benin, using Android smartphones.